BOOTLICKER

Lines

2009-06-09

The first assembly of the Malasrionese Parliament since Ragzin’s dictatorship noted a lack of a Confederate executive, and nominated Humphries. The nomination was obvious to all concerned, it had been the first thought on their minds for weeks since Humphries called fresh elections almost immediately after Malasrion’s successful recapture of the Plains of Qruv. Humphries was now considered to be the perfect choice for a bastion of Malasrionese democracy – the Parliament felt a great gratitude towards her request to the Minister. The Minister had immediately obliged, and Humphries was called to the Third Chamber of the Parliament and was sworn in within hours of the first sitting.

To the Jousen it was a national day of celebration. The Jou downed-tools and stood straight in their fields in honour of their new national hero, the protector of the rights of their race. They faced the sun, the men who flew high with the clouds in their airships sang choruses for the Jousen Commune’s long life.

The victory was bitter-sweet. Ticker tape ran in Nelen streets for a war. Humphries had ordered the press be free, the ability for groups to peacefully assemble and for a person’s right to speak their mind, but these orders revealed the true nature of Nela’s last eleven years. The details of the Gremanese discovery were unearthed, and the secret campaign that had been waged for the last month in the Great Plains were splashed across every publication that anyone with a printing press could produce.

It seemed like Nela was rubbing off the spell of the sandman. The smoke spilling from every stack in sight didn’t seem so noxious, but the last ten years had been a dream land. It was now public knowledge that the Gremanese weren’t exactly their kindred brothers of ancient civilisations past, and a very real threat to the Nelen way of life had surfaced. Strange, but chilling was the prediction of a new Proskut that had emerged deep in the Jousen desert of a long and bloody war ahead.

The Minister of Malasrion had accrued de-facto dictatorship of Nela in Ragzin’s place, but his reign was to be a matter of weeks, the papers and the speaker-tubes ran. Five High Judges were appointed to the National Bench, answerable only to the Parliament straddling the divide between the roads and the desert, it was declared that the Confederacy was to be no more, Malasrion was to be a nation in itself. Despite this, the Minister of Malasrion still retained his absolute power over all Malasrionese issues. It didn’t matter that Malasrionese affairs were no longer a government portfolio assigned by Nelen authorities, the Malasrionese Parliament saw it fit to double-up executive power. Such was Nelen tradition, anyhow.

It was soon called that the ranks of the Malasrionese Army were to be drawn. Proskut was to be found, the rumour had spread too far and wide to be ignored – costly secret intelligence had revealed the existence of great Gremanese weapons primed against the North, it was believed that the mysterious Jousen demi-god would hold the key to gaining an advantage over these threats.